A COMMUTER on the Leeds to Skipton train claims a member of staff refused to ask a coughing passenger to put on a face mask.

Yesterday - the day after the wearing of face coverings on public transport became mandatory again, Chris Dawson was on the 5.26pm Morecambe train from Leeds when a man in his 20s sat down across the aisle not wearing a mask and coughed and spluttered all the way to Shipley.

"I was concerned, everyone else was wearing masks, and the woman beside me was clearly distressed so I politely asked the passing guard if he would ask the gentleman to put on a mask or explain a medical exemption," he said.

"The guard replied in a short tempered manner, I'm not getting involved it's nothing to do with me. I replied it is against the law to travel on a train without a mask or a medical exemption.

"When reminded of the change in the law, he replied I'm not getting involved in that nonsense, we've been told not to get involved. When I asked for his name, the guard replied you can text British Transport Police if you like, but perhaps you shouldn't go on public transport.

"When asked what his employers Northern would think about that and his attitude towards a customer's legitimate concerns, he shut himself in his cabin at the back of the train."

Mr Dawson added: "The law is either the law, or it's not. We should all be helped to obey the rules at this difficult time."

A spokesperson for Northern Railway said: "Northern is encouraging all customers to wear a face covering when using our trains and at our stations.

"Whilst it is not for our staff to enforce, we are advising everyone that British Transport Police operate across the rail network and they will actively engage with customers where possible.

Northern will be reminding customers of the Government’s mandate via social media, posters at stations and on-board trains and via station and train announcements."

Mask wearing in England became mandatory again on Tuesday in some settings, including shops and public transport, as part of the Government's response to the Omicron variant of the Covid-19, bringing England in line with the rest of the UK.

Face coverings were made obligatory on public transport in England in June 2020, with fixed penalties of £100 for those, who refused to wear masks and who were not exempt, by age or a medical reason.